Friday, March 23, 2007

Surgery Date

Just a quick note that I just listened to the messages on our answering machine and found out that surgery is being planned for April 23rd. I will need to be admitted on the 22nd to the Mount Sinai Hospital. I'm glad to finally have a date and yet wish it was even sooner. As Earl & I were discussing it we both realized again that God is in control and if He wanted me to have surgery sooner, He would have orchestrated it that way. Knowing that, we've just got to wait.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


We're home!! It's amazing to be able to be home and sleep in our comfy bed and hang out with our family and friends.
Our flight home the other day went moderately well. There was a bit of turbulence towards the end, but because Earl & I had flown numerous times, we weren't really worried. When we got off the plane there was a huge crowd of people there to welcome us. It was absolutely amazing. It was really special to know that everyone had come out simply to show us that they cared. The dynamics were neat-our immediate families, my extended family from Steinbach, university friends, friends from Earl's former church, friends from home, uncles & aunts & grandma from home and all the other people that don't fit in any of these categories. I hugged a lot of people and a lot of people I didn't. Whatever the case, each and every one of you that came out-THANK YOU.
Yesterday & today were spent unpacking and trying to get back into life back home. I still don't have the energy back that I had before radiation. It's a little frustrating as I want to do a bunch of things but don't quite have the energy for it. Oh well, I've just got to be patient.

For now,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ramona and I just got back from the feels like it's been quite a day already...anyway, Ramona wanted me to blog...she's pretty (meaning extremely) tired and just resting on the couch here for a bit...she wanted me to make the blog sound optimistic...which in reality we got some really optimistic news...Dr. Ferguson (the surgeon who will remove the armpit and hip tumors) chatted with us this morning after he had reviewed these latest MRI's....the armpit tumor has shrunk significantly...he said that on the MRI he could see 'residue' of the tumor...and when he physically tried to feel it...he could barely find it...the big concern was that the tumor was affecting the nerves and blood vessels in the area too much....making surgery incredibly difficult...with the good response the auxilla tumor had to radiation, Dr. Ferguson is now more optimistic about that looks good enough at this point that they can do the armpit and the hip in one surgery...speaking of which, the hip tumor didn't significantly respond to radiation...which is okay...the armpit was the bigger concern...Dr. Ferguson confirmed that they would have to remove part of the hip bone during that surgery...they are not sure if there is cancer in that bone...but there is no point in taking far as the lungs are concerned...we will need to wait and see a little bit...Dr. Ferguson hinted that it might be possible to just do surgery without chemo...and do the lung surgery a week or two after the other ones...we're not really setting our hopes there at this point...I can't remember the lung surgeon's name...but Dr. Ferguson will talk to him about the timing and the steps that need to be taken there...I guess you could say that Ramona and I are both in pretty contemplative moods...while in the hospital after hearing all this stuff we waited long enough for the doctors to leave the room before we were hugging......but for some reason I appreciate Ramona as a visionary person...and I've noticed this from other times when we received good news...she almost immediately sets her mind on the next step...and doesn't neccesarily get caught up in the giggly excitement of the moment...i love her alot......i think i'm going to maybe quit writing now and help her pack...the limo (which apparently costs the same as a taxi) will be here in one hour and eighteen minutes...cheers...earl

Monday, March 19, 2007

Joanna and I are sitting around waiting for Ramona to finish talking to her we can start watching a movie...anyway...we thought it would be important to post the pictures of the California Rolls (sushi) we made......anyway...Ramona is off the phone now...and she wants to tell you about her MRI experience....i'll pass the computer to MRI wasn't fun. I haven't been feeling that great the last few days and I knew that my last armpit MRI was pretty rough so I was hoping to get sedated. (On the form I have to fill out every time they have that as an option.) When I told the receptionist that I wanted to be sedated she said that they didnt' do it and that if I wanted that, I'd need to bring my own drugs. I didn't have much choice but to tough it out. It was frustrating cause it took longer than any other MRI I've had. They injected me with contrast which was something I haven't had for an MRI before. The needle hurt and their empathy annoyed me. They were trying to be nice and comforting but I felt like they really had no idea how it felt. It was one of those moments where I wished I could work in a hospital again just cause I've experienced so much medical stuff. I feel like I have an idea what patients are going to. Well, the MRI is over and the rest of me is also feeling a lot better than I have the last few days.
Even though the MRI wasn't that fun and tears were streaming down my face, thank you for your prayers. Maybe it doesn't seem like they did much but while I was lying there I reminded myself that my mom, Earl and another friend were praying for me during that time. Thanks for praying and yeah tomorrow's the big day when we talk to the surgeon.
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Friday, March 16, 2007

It's finished! Appointments went well-all were on time or early. Ready to relax.

This is the machine, room and people (really they treated me very well, but you know what I mean) that I never want to see again!!!
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Thursday, March 15, 2007

One day left

Radiation ends tomorrow!!!!
I'm definitely very excited. Originally I was supposed to finish next week but the radiation technicians realized that I was eager to go home and so they arranged my schedule that I'm getting treatments twice a day. I didn't have the heart to tell them that I have to stay here til next week anyway as I have appointments until Tuesday. There are a few technicians who are really compassionate- I really appreciate that. It makes such a difference when you can tell that they actually care. So yeah here's the schedule for the next few days. I had radiation twice today and twice tomorrow and then I'm done! Tomorrow will be kind of crazy as I need to be at the hospital at 7:45 a.m. I'll have my treatment and hopefully come home to sleep for a few hours. (Sometimes I think I could sleep all day and still be tired) I have an MRI of my hip at 12:45 and then my last radiation appointment at 3:00. Monday I have an MRI of my arm at 8:45. These MRI's are going to show the doctors what radiation has done. Obviously I pray that it's had dramatic results. Tuesday morning at 10:00 I meet with my surgeon and he gives the results of the MRI's. Hopefully we keep talking surgery and he tells me when those dates are. Our flight leaves at 7:45 and we arrive at 9:20. (That's if I don't convince Earl to try and fly stand-by)
Today is one of those days where I catch myself staring off into space thinking and being pretty emotional. I met with my radiation oncologist, Dr. Catton, after my first radiation appointment today. He's amazed that my skin is doing so well. He expected that it would be peeling and super sore but I seldom think of anything except that it's more red. However, he also talked about my lung tumor. He confirmed what the surgeon, Dr. Ferguson, said a few weeks ago. He added a few more details. He said there was only one tumor and that this tumor WAS there when I was told that they were all gone. The tumor that is there now is just larger than it was in December and is obviously growing. Somehow for me it's a little comforting cause I think I'd rather have it be just a larger version of what I had before as opposed to something new. It's frustrating though, when you are led to believe so many different things. I feel like I can never completely believe or trust the doctors cause things always change. He also confirmed the need to remove the hip and armpit tumor before tackling the lungs. He mentioned the word chemo. It's not the first time that that word's been mentioned in the last few weeks. No, there's no guarantees that I will have chemo but that is definitely a possibility. I know that my heart muscle was weakened from the chemo I had previously but I'm still barely in the 'safe zone' . Somehow thinking about having to do chemo again makes me think a lot. I think about loosing my hair again now when it's finally starting to grow, I think about having to be back in the hospital, feeling like I'm in prison, I think about feeling weak and sick and not being able to enjoy the summer like I've been looking forward too. I want to go camping with my families this summer since we couldn't last year cause I was in the hospital. I want to enjoy my garden- everything dried up last year with no one to water it. I long to have weiner roasts and barbeques and mow the lawn and go for walks, etc. etc. I feel like last summer was stolen from me and I really don't want to have to give up another one. Oh I know all the good sayings that say that two summers is nothing in comparision to enjoying all the summers after that. I know all that, but there are no guarantees that I will enjoy another summer to the extent that I long too. Again, no one has that guarantee.
Just so that it's clear and no one starts thinking that I'm having chemo-At this point there is no chemo in my horizon but I'm musing the obvious possibility.
The bright spot in my day was when I was walking down the steps, out the door to my second radiation appointment. A huge care package was sitting on the steps as well as a card from my grandparents in Phoenix. I excitedly opened the package on the way to the hospital. Wow-I feel so blessed. The carepackage was from many different members from our church. All the notes, the popcorn, the hot chocolate, the gum and all the chocolate and all the other things in there are really special. It's amazing to feel cared for. To all of you who contributed- a huge thank you. Whoever came up with this fabulous idea-thanks so much.

Last Sunday I felt like pouring out my thoughts but was too shy to publish them. Somehow they're still in my mind so here they are today.

Sunday's blog:
Right now I'm sitting on the couch watching Dayna, Joanna & Earl play "Crazy Eights". I'm tired from a day of radiation and sightseeing so instead I'll try to blog. Like we already mentioned, Earl & I and Joanna, went to a different church than we had ever been before. It was definitely an inspiring service. I've really struggled with being able to praise God inspite of having cancer. On Sunday I was once again really not feeling like singing Praise & Worship songs when my heart and soul were definitely not wanting to praise God. It's hard for me to say that "God is good". The preacher was talking about God being good and in my heart I was totally disagreeing. Getting cancer doesn't exactly seem like a good thing. I know a bunch of you who are reading this might think, "Oh, but such good things are happening because of it." That may well be true, and I'm really thankful for that,but no matter if everyone in the world was brought closer to God because of this, I still don't think that I would be thankful that I had cancer. I'd still probably wonder why it had to be me. Cancer sucks, it's horrible. The emotional and mental turmoil is so overwhelming sometimes.It is my heart's desire that God uses this horrible thing for something beautiful-I know He is and I know that He will. However, knowing that doesn't take away my desire to be healthy and not have this cloud over my head.After church Earl & I had a good chat about God's goodness and that I need to remember God's sacrifice. Not only can I have Jesus be a part of my life, I can know that my life has purpose, that Someone is in control. There is a reason that I'm going through this. God uses every experience in our life for our good, if only we allow Him too. Earl made a comment something to the effect that someone in hell would probably give anything to be able to have a sarcoma on earth instead of being in hell. It's true-God is good in that in spite of allowing cancer He saved me from eternally dying in hell. Really God is super, super good. Way too often I forget the incredible sacrifice He made for me.

Well these are the thoughts of Ramona today.
By the way, I'm really dreading the MRI on Monday. Last time I had an arm one was pretty traumatic. I'd really appreciate your prayers. And those of you who are praying for restful nights, I really appreciate that. I haven't been able to fall asleep as well as I used to. Thanks.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

We have a few minutes before we need to head out to Ramona's appointment, so I thought I'd post a few pictures. All the deep thoughts/questions/confustion/excitement I'll save for later.

We had a lot of fun with Dayna while she was out here. I'm not sure what kinds of martial arts they're involved in.

This is my wallet. Maybe not significant to you, but it is to me. It was lost for a week. A few days ago (after the snow melted) I saw it right outside our front doors. It was nice to have all my cancelled credit cards back.

This is Kensington Market. Just west of Spadina Avenue. Close to China town. Anyway, it feels and smells much like Haiti. We really enjoyed hanging around there with Dayna.

The end...we're heading to Princess Margaret.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

We spent the day at the Niagara Falls. Here's just a few pictures before we head to bed. We're going to the Willowdale Pentecostal Church tomorrow. We heard their pastor during the week and we were incredibly encouraged by his wisdom and passion.
-Earl and Ramona
Mony in the stocks at Ripley's Believe-it-or-not

The Falls are very frightening (and also disappointing when all you see is fog)
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Monday, March 05, 2007

I realize we haven't posted anything for the last few days. My parents were out here and we were hanging out with them and going to Missionfest out here and stuff like that instead of writing, but we still often check it. Caring people are always encouraging. I was looking for recent pictures of us and this is what I found on our computer. This is Ramona and I having twin day. We figured this is the most we would ever look alike with our identical haircuts and everything so we were fooling around with our new web cam for a while trying to capture the moment. We were both wearing black pants to match our old BCBC shirts but unfortunately we didn't think to back away from the camera. Oh and as I'm seeing this we were trying to get a picture of how our tongues are different. Mony's is pointy, mine is fat...I kept paging through the pictures and I was taken back to different times in the last year...the range of emotions is huge...I saw pictures from the first few weeks after diagnosis...those were incredibly scary times and yet filled with all sorts of prayer times and talk of purpose and healing and how God would be doing all sorts of amazing things...the picture of the hockey tournament is an incredible show of support...and I also realize how easy it is to forget some of the good things and horrible ones (like chemo) I went further into the archives I found the last picture. That is a picture of us on our honeymoon. That feels like a lifetime ago. We spent so much time walking around the slums of Hait, visiting the orphanage Mony had previously
volunteered at, playing soccer with kids. And we were dreaming...alot, talking about where we would go and what we would do. I'm not gonna lie to you, we never mentioned Toronto other than maybe it would be a layover to somewhere else.....................I'm sitting here not sure where to go with this thought and I'm tempted to erase this whole thing...but I've been challenged by Mony in the last little while. There are many times in the last many months where things have frustrated us incredibly, and things have been especially tough on Mony for varieties of obvious reasons and she'll be at the point of tears, and it's at that point where I decide that we should pray together to make everything doesn't work that way...i have treated prayer as a band-aid...I'm not going to preach a sermon...only, I've been confronted on the fact that I often pray out of tradition or feeling that if we pray then Mony will be happy or pretend she's happy and then we can I'm thinking about this you can't see all the minutes between each sentence...I'm only beginning to understand those verses in the book of James about trials perfecting our enduring trials anything that isn' useless and becomes much more harmful to relationships.

p.s. one little story I forgot about. How God Provides. Many of the attenders of the Morweena EMC church will remember a little story from my second year of university. While I was brushing my teeth one morning my tooth brush fell into the toilet...not a big happens to every one I'm sure...but...I still needed a new toothbrush...sure enough the next day I got a care package from the Friendship Circle group in our church...and wouldn't you know...and new toothbrush...I was happy....the significance of this story had been lost until today...yesterday...while putting on my deodorant it must have caught on my bushy armpit hair and the whole big inside white part of my deodorant fell into the toilet...not a big deal, I'm sure that happens to everyone....but when I got home from breakfast with my dad there was a care package on the table with a new can of Axe...thanks Lyn and you didn't know just how timely of a provision that would be.


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